Finding an Executive Coach to Help You Become a Better Marketing Manager

Are you at a critical juncture in your marketing management career? Here’s a closer look at how executive coaching can help.

gilaxia / E+ / Getty Images

As you climb the marketing management ladder, you will often find that you need greater leadership skills than you possess. It can be hard to get useful feedback from others and difficult to find a colleague you trust or a mentor in whom you can confide for guidance. If you need more perspective or a trusted ear to help you navigate difficult situations, there are options. This is where executive coaching comes in.

Take Your Marketing Performance to New Heights

A survey conducted by Stanford Business School found that more often than not, senior executives admitted to finding executive coaching beneficial and enjoyable. Yet, two times out of three, they do not receive such coaching. If you are in management and find that your company isn’t receptive to the idea of paying for coaching, consider whether the benefits may be worth investing in a coach on your own.

When Should You Consider an Executive Marketing Coach?

For marketing managers, there are a number of circumstances when it makes sense to invest in executive coaching:

  • When they are due for promotion to a position that calls for new skills;
  • When they believe that coaching will give them skills that they need to be offered a promotion;
  • When their current position gives them little fulfillment and they hope to transition to a new career, role, or company;
  • When they experience excessive stress and suspect that they are at risk of burnout;
  • When they want to be more effective at managing others;
  • When they want to gain better emotional intelligence to be effective managers; and
  • When they believe that they need new skills in order to keep up with the demands of their career for the future.

How Does Coaching Help Marketing Managers?

Coaching can help marketing managers:

  • Improve their leadership skills.
  • Communicate effectively, and achieve results faster.
  • Find their way around difficult office politics.
  • Be less stressed by work, and find better strategies for dealing with difficult issues.

Three Things to Look for in an Executive Marketing Coach

When hiring a coach, there are three factors to consider:

  • Qualifications and experience: Executive coaching is a mostly unregulated industry. Before hiring a coach, you need to do due diligence. One of the first things you need to do is ask about the certifications a coach possesses. It’s important to remember that different certifications come with different levels of value. The International Coach Federation is one of the most respected organizations for coach training and certification. People who go through their executive coaching programs are trained for at least 2,500 hours and are certified Master Certified Coach. Some coaches come to the job with no certification but with considerable experience as executives. Others possess certification but have little executive experience. Consider choosing a coach who has the experience and training to deliver what you need.
  • Clear vision about the process: When executive coaches thoroughly understand the training process, they can walk you through that process with clarity. They may start out by helping you define what your main challenges are as you see them. They may then map out a path to help you overcome those challenges. They may describe the new behaviors and skills that you need to learn and help you see how you can achieve them. It’s important to ask your coach if he or she plans to use a standard, cookie-cutter approach to training you or if he or she intends to develop a personalized plan. Whichever method your coach uses, ask why he or she believes it is desirable over the alternative.
  • The length of the coaching engagement: Once you understand the kind of approach your coach plans to use, it’s important to ask about how long the engagement will last. In general, it takes at least 6 months of coaching for systemic change to take effect. You need to talk about how often the coach takes up training sessions. Usually, weekly sessions are required to help a coach judge for improvements and to make tweaks to the coaching program. Since executives tend to be busy, coaches should be able to work to their schedule. Coaching arrangements should come with the promise of confidentiality. Both the coach and the executive should also be free to terminate the engagement whenever they see fit, as well.

Executive coaching takes a significant investment of time, effort, and money, but many marketing managers poised to make the leap to a new role find it well worth the investment. It can have a life-changing impact on your career.